food


Oh, shit! Mad Prophet of the House of Representatves Michelle Bachmann is ontoPresident Obama’s secret EVIL socialist plot to put every American on an EVIL COMMUNIST DIET consisting only of stale bread, poisoned water and hate. 

Now America’s favorite one woman liberal blog post machine is spreading damnable lies about how the machine like bureaucratic government will control what we eat and how many calories we consume in a day, conjuring specters of bread lines and rationing that terrify her constitents in Minnesota, which during the winter already pretty well resembles the Russian tundra. It also instills completely reasonable fear in the heart of every American who understands that being able to cram deep fried tacos down your gullet at will underpins every one of our constitutional rights

Of course, Bachmann’s fears are ridiculous. While food will be rationed under the coming Socialist Dystopia of America, these rations will be plentiful, and everyone will be able to eat their fill once all of our grandparents and down syndrome babies and Kanye West have been rounded up and processed  into a thick, nutritive paste.

The Day: July 4th, 2009

The Event: The Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, pitting titans Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi against one another for the fifth time.

The Man: Joey Chestnut , consuming 68 hot dogs in just 10 minutes, shattering his own world record by a full two dogs and bringing home the gold for the US.

Joey Chestnut, you sir, are a Real American Hero.

Spring has sprung, and that means that flowers, hay fever and romance are all in full bloom. This spring also means that the headlines of the past few days have been replete with stories about the science of love, starting with the fact that the most romantic of notions, love at first sight, may have a genetic basis. According to a study at Cornell University, female fruit flies are genetically primed to know which potential mates are more genetically compatible, and respond better to courtship from males that are more likely to produce healthy offspring. Not only can the flies seemingly sense which males would make better partners, they produce more offspring from these couplings than when they breed with less preferred males.

Scientists at Cornell aren’t the only ones closely examining the intimate moments of drosophilia this week. Researchers at Oxford University took a look at the darker side of fruit fly romance, discovering that, when faced with rivals for a females attention, male fruit flies can release chemicals that make females less sexually active. While certainly not as awww-inducing as a genetic basis for love at first sight, this ‘If I can’t have her, no one can,’ brand of courtship provides at least as much insight into the evolution of sexual behavior.

The evolutionary basis for the dinner date  may have gotten some clarification this week too, as researchers looked more closely at the exchange of meat for sex among groups of chimpanzees. While it has been long known that male chimps traded meat to sexually receptive females for sexual favors, the seemingly altruistic habit of also giving meat to females who are not receptive has been less well understood. According to researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, charity is, unsurprisingly, not at work here. It turns out the chimps are simply paying it forward, with males who share the spoils of their hunts being favored by females long after the gift of food had been made. Still unclear, however, is just where the entertainment portion of the traditional date is hiding in our genetic structure.

One thing that has been found tucked away in the human genome is CATSPER1, a genetic abnormality that University of Iowa researchers think is responsible for some cases of male infertility. While understanding this abnormality could help scientists treat some forms of male infertility, the more groundbreaking notion is that a little tinkering with CATSPER1 could open the door to the development of the safe and effective male contraceptive that has so far eluded modern medicine in the 4 decades following the introduction of female birth control.

And finally, from the BBC’s science department comes this news: blowjobs are out, but heavy petting is in. Take whatever you want from that.

Okay, The Philippines, it’s time for us to have a talk.

You need to stop eating critically endangered species.

I know, incredibly rare animals are the sweetest meat – the sort that no human being may ever taste again. Now, I’m willing to look the other way when you guys eat a Worcester’s Button Quail, long thought extinct in the wild – I mean, I’m not, but I’m pretty liable to forget about it eventually.

But this week? This week you went too far.

This week, you see, marked the sighting of an incredibly rare megamouth shark. How rare is megamouth? Well, since the discovery of the filter feeding species in 1976, only 40 specimens have ever been caught or even seen. Up until March 30, that is, when a megamouth was caught by mackerel fishermen off of Burias Island – the 41st encounter with megamouth on record. Though the creature died while being captured, the fishermen were wise enough to bring the strange catch to a local conservation biologist, who recognized the creature and urged the men not to eat it.

Which, of course, is exactly what they did, marking not only the 41st sighting of megamouth, but also the 1st recorded instance of it being sauteed in coconut milk. Researchers were quick to point out that, while less than ideal, the encounter still provided valuable scientific information about the creature, such as never before performed tests of it’s texture, taste, and overall delectability.

Breast milk being the best milk may have more wisdom behind it than just a happily coincidental rhyme nowadays.

Distressingly, the simple couplet may be more pertinent not for what it provides nutritionally, but for what it leaves out of infant diets – namely perchlorate, a chemical used in rocket fuel, which has been found in baby formula according to a study by the Center for Disease Control.

The study doesn’t name names of the 15 brands it tested, but researchers were able to say that all 15 brands contained perchlorate, and that contamination levels were highest in the most popular brands.

Particularly troubling is that most of the formulas are being combined with tap water, and almost all tap water contains perchlorate. Researchers hypothesized that up to 54% of children drinking formula could be getting a daily dose of rocket fuel ingredient above the safe limit suggested by the EPA. But with the EPA still dragging it’s feet on setting regulations for perchlorate levels in drinking water, at this point, all we can do is hope that the chemical renders children swifter and more energetic, rather than causing lasting harm.

For more info, check out the full study here.

The best and worst news of the week makes it’s return. Without further ado, this week’s winners!

Eco-Conscious Motorists – From the desk of Every Little Bit Helps, this week saw a modest rise in U.S. fuel efficiency standards. It’s a small step towards halting potentially catastrophic global climate change, but hey – it’s a step, right?

Of course the big news in the greening of automotive technology came out of L.A. yesterday when automaker Tesla unveiled their Model S Sedan, a frankly beautiful roadster that promises to become the first commercially viable, all electric family automobile – when it starts rolling off production lines in earnest in 2011, that is. Check out video at SciAm here.

Bus and Train Riders – Of course, if you’re more concerned with your own health than that of the planet, your still better off not driving. That’s according to a new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia, who found that people who regularly use public transportation are three times as likely to meet minimum physical activity guidelines as those who don’t. Of course, you’re also four times as likely to have to sit next to a guy who smells like Ripple and claims to be the messiah, so you could maybe call that a wash.

This Thai KidIf you get trapped on a ledge, and Spiderman comes to save you, you’re a winner. End of story. 

If, on the other hand, you’re trespassing in Komodo National Park, fall out of a tree, and get mauled to death by komodo dragons…well, my deepest sympathies and all, but you’re inaugurating our losers category this week.

But you’re in good company this week. For instance,

Lobsters and Crabs – For as long as anyone can remember, the story on boiling crabs and lobsters alive has been “Don’t worry, they can’t feel pain, so it’s okay!” Turns out…not so much.  According to a study performed by Queen’s University, hermit crabs not only feel pain, but remember and try to avoid it, rendering the bugs of the sea more intelligent and sensitive than anyone really gave them credit for. Sadly, this new understanding of pain in crustaceans will probably not render the creatures any less delicious.

Huge Dudes – Retired NFL players have always had to deal with a plethora of health problems, but to the legions of creaking knees and aching backs, you can add sleep apnea, which is growing more prevalent among retired NFL players. It seems that linemen, those crushing walls of human flesh that can sometimes move so gracefully, are particularly susceptible to the ailment,which has been tied to obesity and heart disease, and has already been implicated in the death of one great NFL lineman.

House Republicans – There’s nothing sadder than a loser who doesn’t know it. Such is the case with House Republicans, who somehow under the impression that they still get to set policy, unveiled their budget alternative, The Republican Road to Recovery, on Thursday to a resounding chorus of barely muffled snickers. The budget plan, which at a grand total of 19 pages is so light on details that it must be tethered to the ground to keep from floating away, was roundly ridiculed by Democratic lawmakers and the media, and let’s be frank – rightly so. My personal favorite of the documents many bubble charts is at the bottom of page 10, demonstrating how the phrase “Help small businesses keep America Employed” can turn a homeless vagrant into a construction worker – just like magic! 

And cherry on top – new details of the GOP budget – things like, you know a plan, or some hard numbers, will be released…wait for it…wait for it… next Wednesday. April 1st. That’s right, April Fools Day. I swear to God, these guys just know how to take all the fun out of mocking them.

This rather unspectacular looking bird is actually a pretty special catch – the only photographic evidence of the Worcester’s Buttonquail, until now known only from sketches and a few dusty museum mountings.

That’s because until this one was photographed in a market in the Phillipines, the animal had been given up as extinct. And now, it might be, as the incredibly rare bird pictured above was sold, cooked and eaten shortly after it’s brush with celebrity. Because what else would you do with a specimen of animal not seen in the wild for

Michael Lu of the Wild Bird Club of the Phillipines has especially shocked, asking

“What if this was the last of its species?”

Well, then, Mr. Lu, one would have to presume that it was extra delicious. 

But hey, who hasn’t experienced the embarrassment that comes from realizing “Oops, we just killed and ate the incredibly rare bird we were searching for!” Isn’t that right, Charles Darwin?

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